Alessandro de Marchi / Academia Montis Regalis

Handel, Caldara: Carmelite Vespers 1709

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This is one of those recordings that presents a composition that never actually existed: Handel and Antonio Caldara, who succeeded Handel as musical director for the Ruspoli family, both (probably) composed music for the Carmelite order and for its Church of Santa Maria di Montesano in Rome. A large festival service at this church would have involved the assembly of music by various composers, and it's plausible that the pieces by Handel and Caldara here might have been put together even if there's no evidence that that actually happened. Handel's interactions with the Ruspolis have been a subject of musicological research, and the album succeeds as a sort of state-of-the-art Handel issues release even if the booklet is needlessly confusing (it's not clear why the Salve Regina, HWV 241, is listed as a joint work; nothing suggests that it is anything other than Handel's alone). Further, there's some blistering singing from soprano Roberta Invernizzi and countertenor Martin Oro (the other singers are not quite in the same league), and the program tunes the ear to the distinctively ornate style of the young Handel; Caldara's pieces are a good deal soberer and simpler. Recommended for those with a strong interest in the High Baroque.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 0:46
Haec est regina virginum
2 4:00
3 1:18
Laetatus sum
4 4:43
5 5:33
6 4:21
7 3:20
8 2:44
9 3:06
Saeviat tellus, HWV 240
10 5:53
11 0:54
12 6:37
13 3:17
14 0:26
15 2:00

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:08
Dixit Dominus, HWV 232
2 5:22
3 3:12
4 2:38
5 2:33
6 1:43
7 6:41
8 4:14
9 6:54
Salve Regina, HWV 241
10 2:58
11 3:22
12 3:23
13 1:45
14 0:28
15 0:33
blue highlight denotes track pick